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Google commemorates iconic Ghalib on his birth anniversary

Google commemorates iconic Ghalib on his birth anniversary

   By Gargi Parsai

New Delhi, Dec 27 (UNI) Google on Tuesday paid tribute to the iconic poet and writer of the 17th century, Mirza Ghalib, with a Doodle on his 220th birth anniversary.

This was necessary so that the youth of today appreciate the writings of the progressive Urdu and Persian-language poet who occupies a place of pride in world literature.

``The world will understand me 100 years after I am gone’’, were his prophetic words to his critics: ``Hain aur bhi duniya mein sukhanvar bahut achchhe; kahte hain ki `ghalib’ ka hai andaz-e-bayan aur’’!

Ghalib, was born as Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan on December 27, 1797 in Agra during the latter part of the Mughal rule. He lost his father when he was a little over five years of age. He was raised by his uncle Mirza Nasrullah Baig Khan who too died soon after.

He married Umrao when he was young and in due course had seven children but none of them survived leaving him broken-hearted. After his marriage he settled in Delhi in 1812.

In one of his letters he described marriage as the second imprisonment after the initial confinement that was life itself: ``The prison of life and the bondage of grief are one and the same. Before the onset of death, why should man expect to be free of grief?” he wrote.

The house in which he lived and died in 1869 in Ballimaran, Chandni Chowk in Delhi, is known as Ghalib Ki Haweli and is preserved as a Ghalib memorial by the Archeological Survey of India. The haveli bears testimony to his be-ing.

His poetry reflected his experiences of life, the sadness, the joys and the deviations to gambling, wine, women: ``Dil-e-nadan tujhe hua kya hai, akhir is dard ki dawa kya hai?”

His response to the well-entrenched poets of the time including Zauq, tutor of Bahadur Shah Zafar II, the then Emperor of India, and Meer Taqi Meer, a towering 18th century poet was: ``Har ek baat pe kehte ho tum ke tu kya hai; tum hi kaho ke yeh andaz-e guftgu kya hai?”.

He even wrote on Meer: “Rekhte ke tumhin ustad nahin ho `ghalib’; kahte hain agle zamane mein koi `Meer’ bhi tha”

His poetry and prose was simple and yet, complex. Sometimes it was so complicated, deep, intense and intelligent that people could not fathom it. Before him, people wrote on anguished love, but Ghalib wrote on the travails and mysteries of life and death.

For his poetry to be understood, it has to be seen in the context of the history of the time and his personal experiences: ``Hazaron khvahishen aisi ki har khvahish pe dam nikle; bahut nikle mere arman lekin phir bhi kam nikle” or, ``Koi mere dil se puchche tere teer-e-neem-kash ko; ye khalish kahan se hoti jo jigar ke paar hota” (what pain your arrow, partly drawn, inflicts upon my heart; were it fully drawn how deep would it sting?)

Ghalib had no regular income. For family pension he travelled from Delhi to Calcutta and en route participated in poetry session Lucknow, Banda, Allahabad, Varanasi and Mushirabad and won praise and fame.

In time he came to be known as the master of words, emotion and poetry: ‘’Ragon mein daudte phirne se kam nahin quaail; jab aankh hi se na tapka to phir lahu kya hai”, not to forget the famous: “Unke dekhe se jo aa jaati hai munh par raunaq; who samajhtein hai beemar ka haal achcha hai”.

In 1850, he was honoured with the title Dabir-ul-Mulk by Bahadur Shah Zafar and after death of Ustad Zauq, he was entrusted with the task of writing the history of that era. He was appointed the teacher of Bahadurshah Zafar and he started getting a royal pension for his upkeep.

During the 1857 revolution, the British government labelled Mirza as a rebel and stopped his pension giving rise to misery and difficulties in his life. Rampur Nawab asked him to become his ustad and offered him a pension—he mentioned this in his letters to his friends.

His poems reflected everyday life and often he would make indirect comments. He refers to unrequited love in: ``ye na thi hamari qismat ki visal-e-yaar hota; agar aur jeete rahte yahi intezaar hota”.

It is said that Ghalib placed greater emphasis on seeking of God rather than ritualistic religious practices. He would often say that ``the object of my worship lies beyond perception's reach’’.

In a verse directed towards certain clerics, he said: Look deeper, it is you alone who cannot hear the music of his secrets.’’

Ghalib is the only poet on whom several documentaries, films, television serials and plays have been made through the years.

A film was made on him in India in 1954 in which Bharat Bhushan played Mirza Ghalib and Suraiya plays his courtesan lover, Chaudvin.

Pakistan cinema too paid tribute to him through another film with the same name, Mirza Ghalib made in 1961 with singer-actress Noor Jehan playing his courtesan lover.

Famous poet-director Gulzar produced a television serial Mirza Ghalib in 1988 with Neseeruddin Shah in the role of Ghalib. It was telecast on Doordarshan and had ghazals sung by Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh.

Ghalib’s life and works have been the source of numerous plays in India and Pakistan where he remains the favourite subject of performing arts.

UNI GP-NAZ/1744

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